Swipes Camping

UK England South East England West Sussex Worthing

  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
  • Walking
Back-to-basics camping and glamping boasting unparalleled access to the South Downs Way

The tiny village of Washington in the South Downs National Park has no connection to the first president of the United States nor to the great American capital but it does have other good claims to fame. There’s its beautiful view of Chanctonbury Ring, a Bronze-Age hill fort surrounded by beech trees where, in the 1860s, treasure hunters unearthed a huge horde of Anglo-Saxon silver. The village pub, meanwhile, was said by historian Hilaire Bellock to have “the best swipes” (beer) in all of Sussex. There are plenty of thirsty walkers passing through to test the claim – the South Downs Way runs just beyond the door. Most wanderers end up pitching at the aptly named local campsite, too.

Swipes Camping is designed to service walkers, cyclists and equestrians trotting their way along the South Downs Way, though regular campers in cars are very frequent pitcher-uppers too. The private 16.5 acre smallholding is a secluded and simple affair. Facilities are little more than toilets (1 chemical and 1 compost) and freshwater taps – there are no showers and certainly no shop – but delicious breakfasts and lunches courtesy of the artisan Village Deli can be arranged campers or those trekking the long-distance footpath (luggage can be even be transported to your next stop if required). There’s room for around six tents to pitch at any one time (leaving ample space to spread out and enjoy a campfire) and there’s also a shepherd’s hut you can book. If family facilities and glitzy washrooms are your thing then this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you like grub from the pub, cuppas from your camp stove and instant access to the footpaths of the South Downs, Swipes is a real hidden gem.

The routes immediately surrounding the campsite are some of the best in the entire national park. Local legend has it that Chanctonbury Ring was created by the Devil and that he can be summoned by running around the trees seven times. Not that it’s a devilishly spooky place. It’s a fantastic viewing point that’s well worth the walk and is nicely linked with Cissbury Ring for a circular stroll. It takes less than 20 minutes, meanwhile, to walk to Washington Chalk Pits, which were chosen by South Downs ranger, Tom Parry, as his favourite place in the entire national park in an interview with The Guardian. “[It] offers all sorts of interesting humps, bumps and holes to explore, not to mention the wealth of wildlife that relishes the multitude of microclimates”, he said. On a sunny day, there are few spots we’d rather be.

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Details

Facilities

Toilets (1 compost; 1 chemical) and freshwater taps – and that's about it. This is a simple campsite without showers. Campfires and BBQs are permitted. There's a paddock for those bringing a horse along. Excellent access to South Downs Way.

Suitable For

Campers, glampers, tents, campervans, dogs, horses – yes. Caravans and large motorhomes – no.

Nearby

This is a campsite for walkers and cross-country cyclists, with great access to the South Downs Way and bridleways from the village. You can walk south to ancient Cissbury Ring (only accessible on foot or bike), an Iron-age hill fort and a neolithic flint mine or, if it’s wildlife you’re after, hop in the car and drive the 15 minutes to RSPB Pulborough Brooks, a 160-hectare nature reserve in the Arun Valley managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Star species include peregrines, lapwings and nightingales, but there are rare breed cattle too and activities through summer to keep kids entertained. Swipes Camping isn’t far from some of the most spectacular stretches of the South Downs, Devil’s Dyke among them, and there’s plenty of history on the doorstep. The historic town of Arundel is 25 minutes’ by car, stacked up on the banks of the River Avon. The Arundel Park Estate is well worth exploring (try circling Swanbourne Lake with the kids) and fully-restored Arundel Castle (01903 882173), established in 1067, is also a must. Petworth House (30 minutes), meanwhile, displays the National Trust’s very finest art collection, while the grounds are another great spot for picnics.

Food & Drink

Supper, breakfast, packed lunches and baggage transfer are available by prior arrangement for those walking the South Downs Way courtesy of the artisanal Village Deli (01903 744644) in Storrington. They stock a wealth of gourmet produce, many of which is locally sourced including a fine selection of craft ales, beers and ciders from across Sussex. Pub-wise, The Frankland Arms (01903 891405) is a 200-year-old coaching inn with beamed ceilings, log fires in the winter and a delightful garden in the summer; disabled and baby changing facilities are available and dogs are welcome in the main bar. At the far end of the village, get your BBQ meats from Green Farm Butchers (07939 455203) where they also do cookery, butchery and meat curing courses.

Opening Times

April–September.

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Pitches

Six grass camping pitches, plus a shepherd's hut (sleeping up to 2 adults and a child).

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Location

Contact Swipes Camping, Swipes Camping, Washington, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 4AT

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Getting There

Heading south on the A24, take the third exit at the Washington roundabout heading west along the the A283 Storrington Road. Take first left (after Georges Lane on the right) and continue down Rowdell Drive. Take the 4th gate on the right hand side for the campsite entrance. You will see a small slate plaque with 'Swipes' written on it. Sat Nav tends to take you via The Street in Washington which is not the best route. 

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Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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